Letters week of June 10, 2010

If We Do Not Stand Up for Israel, Then Who Will?

Thank you for enclosing in the June 3 paper the pamphlet titled "2010 Top Ten Anti-Israel Lies," put out by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It's too bad that every paper in the nation can't include this information. It provides intelligent and crucial insight into the problems that Israel faces every day.

The anti-Semitic boycott campaigns — demonizing what they call the Jewish "apartheid" state — is something frightening. The media does nothing to help the situation. They sensationalize incidents that occur in Israel.

Instead of printing what Israel and its people contribute to the world in the medical, technological, research and educational fields, the media finds it necessary to print almost all of the negative news coming out of the state. Are the people in the media just interested in selling papers, or are they truly interested in printing the truth as they see it?

When you speak to family and friends about Israel, speak as a caring and interested Jew. Stop and think of the consequences to the Jews of the world if Israel did not exist.

Remember, if we do not stand up for our own, who will?

Gloria Gelman

It's Got All the Makings of a Made-for-TV Movie

I don't wish to steal any thunder from the Jewish Exponent's entertainment columnist Michael Elkin, but keeping the June 3 editorial, "A Rush to Judgment," in mind, the Israeli navy's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla has made-for- TV movie written all over it.

A tentative title might be "Pirates of the Mediterranean."

I suggest that it be a Larry David production, featuring the following actors: Glenn Beck as Bibi Netanyahu; Danny DeVito as Ehud Barak; Ice Cube as Barack Obama; Helen Mirren as Hillary Clinton; Sarah Silverman as Tzipi Livni; George Lopez as the Turkish ambassador to Israel; Woody Allen as Shimon Peres; Ryan Seacrest as Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren; Michael Richards as Rahm Emanuel; and the Max Weinberg 7 as the European parliamentarians.

Evan Handleman

Woman of Many Talents Will Never Be Forgotten

Ida Hoffman-Firestone passed away on May 25; her death notice appeared in the June 3 issue. She and I grew up as family friends, only blocks from one another in France.

We both survived the Holocaust in hiding, but I did not know that Ida and her whole family immigrated to Philadelphia, where, in 1971, we were finally reunited by a mutual friend.

I discovered that my childhood girlfriend had grown to be an admirable woman with a strong will and many talents, including teaching music, painting with great passion, cooking and baking like a grand chef, knitting suits as well as any designer and more.

Later, she became known throughout the Delaware Valley as an educator who dedicated herself to sharing her Holocaust experiences with school children, in spite of the pain these memories brought her. She was also the treasurer of the Philadelphia chapter of the Child Survivors of the Holocaust, and offered her generous hospitality to the group over the years.

I will never forget the emotional moments we shared, often over a piece of her famous homemade cheesecake. Everyone who met her was charmed by her personality and inspired by everything she did.

We will not forget her.

Lily Lustig Redner
Plymouth Meeting

Protesters Showed Their True Nature — Hatred

The conflict in the Middle East is hardly new. The headlines about a "humanitarian aid" flotilla, however, is the most recent twist on a seemingly never-ending conflict.

Whatever side of the fence you find yourself on regarding Israel, the disturbing consequences of race and religious hatred that recent events have provoked was brought home last week during a rally in Center City.

When a small group of pro-Israel supporters from Drexel University Hillel arrived outside the Israeli consulate to show our support for Israel, we were astonished by what ensued. Our small group stood on one side of the street, waving Israeli flags and chanting "Am Yisrael Chai." Across from us, anti-Israel protesters appeared.

What happened next stunned us all. We were bombarded with hatred, insults and slurs. The people who screamed these epithets did not attempt to start an actual discussion of problems in the Mideast. It was simply a chance to demonize Jews.

Although people are allowed to voice their opinions of Israel as a political entity, we were offended when the shouts turned to slurs. A number of young people walked by, cursing and yelling "F*** the Jews!"

This statement was just one among a mix of insults and offensive gestures. Some anti- Israel protesters were so riled up that their colleagues had to hold them back from fighting.

Fight us? We only wanted to show support for Israel — a country we believe to be in the right. It seems that to these protesters, Israel doesn't even have the right to defend itself.

We understand freedom of speech. We understand disagreements between political parties. However, a line was crossed when these people resorted to hate and profanity.

But what is most frightening is how our generation is mixing its arguments. It is a very dangerous situation for all individuals in society when one cannot differentiate among politics, people and emotions.

We are not in the Germany of 1939. We are not on the streets of Iran. We are in America, the land of the free.

Shoshana Weiss
Israel chair of the Jewish Students Organization
Drexel University


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